Stepping over the zombies he’d just destroyed, Mike was feeling confident again. He’d already put the awkwardness with Jessica, out of his mind. He needed to project the strong silent type, he reminded himself. Not the bumbling nerd he used to be, but he guy he wanted to be moving forward.
Lost in his own head, Mike didn’t immediately hear the cry for help. It was only after it came a second time followed by the, pop pop pop sound of a discharging firearm, that he looked to Jessica to see what she thought they should do.
Jessica seemed to hesitate. Likely she realized that, despite one of their objectives being to help any survivors they came across, doing so would inevitably effect their main mission of trying to find her family.
Her hesitation lasted less than a second.
“Let’s go,” she shouted, pulling her pistol and taking off running.
He understood she was feeling guilty for considering turning away. But that was no reason to throw caution to the wind.
He caught up with her in a handful of strides, grabbing her arm he pulled her slowly to a stop and then putting a finger over his lips to silence her protests. When she was calm again, he mimed peeking around the corner.
Jessica seemed to understand. She shook his hand off and crouching, she approached the corner she’d been about to round.
Mike followed her and they peeked their heads out at about the same time one over the other.
What they saw even made Jessica swear.
Crouched down behind an abandoned sedan was a group of five, female cop and her wounded partner, a young girl, a young man, and an older office lady. They were pinned down by an enormous pack of what Mike swore were wolves.
The pack wasn’t entirely made up of wolves however. Mixed in were several domesticated breeds of dogs including at least one rottweiler and two Labradors.
At the back of the pack, nearly three times as large as the next largest animal in its pack, was the obvious pack alpha. It was absurdly big, nearly six foot at the shoulder and over ten feet long.
The monster was big enough Mike had little doubt that, even with his bulk, he could ride it.
He gave a half smile at the thought of riding into battle on a wolf, and then shook his head reminding himself what he was there to do.
How was he going to save the people behind the car/
Jessica’s pistol was capable of sustained fire, and being that it discharged plasma, she could probably take out half the pack herself. But what about the other half. His revolver could take six at best, if he managed hits, and then he’d be swinging his ax.
He was good against zombies but could he handle that many wolves? Mike doubted it.
Looking over at Jessica he mouthed, “what do you want to do?”
Jessica shrugged and smiled apologetically as she answered, “run in guns blazing?”
Mike rolled his eyes. He was about to comment on how there were less painful ways to suicide when Jessica added.
“I bet the little ones will run away if we kill the big one.”
Looking at the big wolf again, Mike half smiled, it was obvious what she meant. She wanted him to take on the big wolf like he had the troll. Swallowing and taking a deep breath Mike shifted his ax to his left hand and drew his pistol.
“You run towards the car, I’ll sweep in from their opposite side and try to cut my way through the pack. If I get stuck don’t draw the big bastards attention to yourself by shooting it, just try to open my path. If you gun can’t kill it that thing will have killed all six of you before I can get there to help otherwise.”
Jessica nodded, “I’m going to aim for wolves not dogs,” she said and Mike grunted. It made sense, wolves were still wild animals, but dogs, once out of the big monsters influence, might just go back to being pets.
Nodding head he let Jessica run first. When she was halfway to the car, he turned the corner with a bellow, attracting the attention of every living thing on the block as he charged.
Using the sudden distraction to her advantage Jessica began to pump plasma into the pack. Mike snorted as the air filled with the smell of burning meat and hair. He could see her victims clearly against the sea of moving backs as they melted inward from the point of the shot.
Mike shook his head even as he ducked into the first of the wolves in his path, shouldering it into the air and then sending a kick into the waist of its neighbor. He reminded himself not to ever piss Jessica off.
Yelps greeted his dance of destruction as he fired shots with his right hand, chopped with his left and kicked out when convenient.
But the dance could only last so long as the wolves seemed to catch onto him.
A hole formed in the crowd around him, filled with the menacing growls of the toughest beasts in his immediate vicinity.
Checking that his pistol was empty he slid the revolver back into his pants and shifted his grip on the ax to a two handed one for more power.
The wolves were giving him space, they were wary of him now. It was about as far from a good thing as could have happened to their plans. Slowly but surely they began to attack him from the rear. As he’d spin to meet the attack another wolf would dive in from the side.
Mike moved like a whirlwind, light on his feet, ax blade meeting snout whenever possible.
But even at his fastest, his strongest, the wounds began to stack up. The surrounding pack’s confidence began to rise. The only good things that could be said was they seemed to have forgotten Jessica and the others for the moment.
Realizing just how bad his situation was Mike finally gave in and shouted, “Jessica!”
Moments later an orb arced out from behind the abandoned car, landing amidst the wolves surrounding him.
Mike dove for the pavement.
He’d seen Jessica pick three of those orbs from the vending machine after the fight with the troll.
He’d never seen one work, but he had seen plenty of movies. If a normal grenade was half as flashy as war movies made them seem, then her new future grenades, would be terrifying.
Mike was not disappointed as the whump of a muffled explosion sounded out and he found himself covered in a thin layer of dirt and viscera.
Rubbing dirt from his eyes he stood up and looked around.
The wolves looked to be in confusion. The alpha especially seemed enraged, a fifth of his pack had been turned into meat in an instant. Seeing the carnage Mike sucked in his breath. He had forgotten Jessica had had those grenades. If he’d remembered they would have made a plan around them.
He’d just expected her to shoot a few of them ones between him and the alpha so he could make his charge. Seeing there was a path to do that now, Mike looked to his right, then his left. They wolves were still reeling, they weren’t densely packed enough for a second explosion to finish the job. He needed to get the alpah while there was still a chance.
Grunting, he lifted his ax and without drawing attention to himself with a yell he charged.
The alpha sense him immediately and snorted its disdain as it pawed the ground once, like a bull, and counter-charged.
The met shoulder to shoulder in the air. Mike knew he’d lost the battle of strength instantly, but he didn’t give up. Slamming his ax down, even as he felt the force begin to carry him away, he watched as his ax sliced several inches into the monster’s side. And then he hit the ground with a wuff of air escaping from his lungs.
Blackness called for him and he pushed it away, noting the numbness of his body as he attempted to stand. A dog charged in from his left and he met its vicious bit with his forearm.
The teeth went through fabric and skin like nothing, chomping on to bone as Mike casually brought the ax around to sever the dog’s head from its neck. The head fell away as its jaws went slack and Mike found his feet at last.
Looking for the big alpha he saw it running at the car and he swore. He could see several scorch marks on its brilliant silver grey coat where Jessica’s plasma had already burned it. It had done more damage than against the troll, but obviously not enough to pull the giant wolf down.
Mike backhanded a wolf on the nose, kicking a second and sending it flying as he raced to meet the wolf before it could kill his friends. Seeing he wasn’t going to make it Mike shouted.
“Make it eat a grenade.”
Jessica wasnt stupid, she got his plan.
Another orb shot out.
It lacked the arc of the previous time, aimed as it was nearly level, toward the wolf’s open maw. But the wolf seemed to sense something amiss and rather than biting down it batted the orb to the side.
The impact set it off anyway, and Mike once more found himself airborne as he flew backwards doing one complete rotation before he landed on the ground face down.
For a long time Mike just lay there. Long enough something should have bit him on principles alone. Nothing did.
Eventually he pushed himself up to his elbows and looked around. He didn’t know what to say.
The great wolf was half missing, only its back legs still intact.
The pack had vanished, minus the members left for dead in the fight.
The sedan it had been approaching no longer had any glass in any of its windows. The paint on the side facing the pack was burnt away to scorched metal, two of its tires were melted to the pavement and he could see its interior was still smoldering.
Mike began to laugh, coughing even as he did so. The fight was over. They’d won. Jessica had killed it even after she missed.
Reaching up to feel his tender face he could only laugh harder. His eyebrows had been singed away in the blast.
“Jessica?” He hollered out, his voice noticeably sore sounding.
“We’re over here,” she said, peeking her head out from the door of a store off to the side of the street.
“You left me for dead?” Mike asked, amused not offended.
“No, this cop just needed more urgent attention. I got the kid keeping a lookout to make sure you were okay.” She shouted back, and her head disappeared back into the shop.
Mike noticed the little girl standing not too far off, crouched down next to a mail box, watching him. He hadn’t seen her until Jessica pointed.
“Hello,” He said, trying to sound friendly as he pushed himself back to his knees.
Everything hurt. He suddenly wished he’d gone with Amy instead. The quiet suburbs, with a beautiful redhead, who could heal him if he needed it. What was wrong with that?
He laughed again.
The little girl cringed back and Mike shook his head. He must look terrible.
Groaning he made it all the way to his feet this time. And looking back over his shoulder he said, “Let’s get inside where it’s safe.”
The little girl didn’t miss a beat as she muttered, :”No place is safe anymore.”
Mike couldn’t argue with such sound logic. So he didn’t try, he just held the door open letting her go in first.
Author : The Steve